• Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • Hagel Confirmed - Will He Jump on the Military Expenditure Bandwagon?

    Chuck Hagel is confirmed as Secretary of Defense; will he now try to sell the myth that a high military budget is good for jobs? -   April 5, 13
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook

    I support the Real News Network because it gives members an opportunity to make uncensored comments. - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN


    Hagel Confirmed - Will He Jump on the Military Expenditure Bandwagon?ELIZABETH WARREN, U.S. SENATOR (D-MA): The ayes 58, nays 41. The nomination is confirmed.

    JESSICA DESVARIEUX, PRODUCER, TRNN: On Tuesday, February 26, the Senate confirmed former Republican senator Chuck Hagel to become the next secretary of defense. The vote split mostly along party lines. The four Republicans who supported Hagel were senators Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska, Richard Shelby of Alabama, and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. It was the narrowest margin on record for any defense secretary.

    Hagel's confirmation made history again when Republicans dragged out his confirmation by filibustering, marking the first time any cabinet-level nominee was filibustered.

    But why was there so much resistance to confirm Hagel, who was a career Republican and now is the highest ranking Republican in the Obama administration?

    At Hagel's confirmation hearing on January 31, the battle over Hagel's candor towards Israel and Iran put Hagel in the line of fire before Republicans on the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

    The latest of Senator Graham's assaults was over an alleged report that Hagel said he was concerned over Israel "becoming an apartheid state."

    Policy director of Just Foreign Policy Robert Naiman helped lead a petition to show their support for Hagel's alleged use of the word apartheid. Naiman notes that it was a word used by top former Israeli leaders as well.

    ROBERT NAIMAN, POLICY DIRECTOR, JUST FOREIGN POLICY: So we wanted to educate people about the fact that in fact many Israelis have said the same thing. And the real issue here is that people like Lindsey Graham are, you know, as President Obama said in 2008 before he was president, there are some people that want to conflate the, quote-unquote, pro-Israel with being pro-Likud. And there's this faction in Congress, hardcore Republicans, who in fact support the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and want that to continue forever and don't want peace, don't want a two-state solution, don't want the Palestinians to have an independent state. And that's why they don't want people to use the word apartheid, because using the word apartheid calls attention to the fact that there are 2 million people being denied their democratic rights.

    DESVARIEUX: But now that Hagel is over his confirmation hurdle, what will become of the defense budget, something that he labeled as being "bloated" in a 2011 Financial Times interview?

    CHUCK HAGEL, FMR. U.S. SENATOR: The Defense Department, I think, in many ways has been bloated. So I think the Pentagon needs to be pared down. I don't think that our military has really looked at themselves strategically, critically, in a long, long time.

    DESVARIEUX: This comment cost him the endorsement of prominent mainstream outlets like The Washington Post. In their December 18, 2012, editorial titled "Chuck Hagel is not the right choice for defense secretary," it read:

    "Mr. Hagel's stated positions on critical issues, ranging from defense spending to Iran, fall well to the left of those pursued by Mr. Obama during his first term—and place him near the fringe of the Senate that would be asked to confirm him."

    DESVARIEUX: While both Republicans and Democrats accept that further cuts in defense may be inevitable, few have suggested that a reduction on the scale of the sequester is responsible.

    Also, many news outlets point to how the March 27 automatic cuts known as the sequester will reduce the annual defense budget from $700 billion to $600 billion, which would result in a loss of jobs.

    On Tuesday, February 26, even President Obama stumped in shunning sequestration and its dire effects on the defense industry at a shipyard in Virginia.

    BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: The main reason I'm here is to call attention to the important work that you're doing on behalf of the nation's defense and to let the American people know that this work, along with hundreds of thousands of jobs, are currently in jeopardy because of politics in Washington.

    DESVARIEUX: But some argue that advocating the current defense budget is not what President Obama should be defending. According to a report by National Priorities Project, without the sequester, the Pentagon Budget would grow by $5 billion if not for the sequestration.

    MATTEA KRAMER, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PRIORITIES PROJECT: We found that defense spending on weapons systems has been huge in recent years for weapons systems that we are still hearing are obsolete, are astronomically expensive, have oversight problems. And so we see opportunities to reduce those kinds of projects, including contracts. And yes, they do have implications for employment, for job losses, but that's not necessarily a reason to avoid such cuts.

    But what we do believe in is a strong democratic process, and sequestration is the very opposite of that. This is the culmination in just utterly irresponsible budgeting and backroom deals, last-minute budget deals that involve only the most powerful members of Congress and the president. This is the opposite of good democratic process or responsible budgeting. So we absolutely are not rooting for sequestration. It's mindless cuts, not the way to go about determining what our national priorities should be.

    Now, for folks who do believe that defense cuts ought to happen—and, in fact, a majority of Americans, according to opinion polls, would like to see reductions in defense spending, it may be that sequestration is the only way that those will happen. But it may also be that with this sort of gun to the head, lawmakers could now come up with a smarter plan for reducing military spending in a way that makes much more sense than the sequester.

    DESVARIEUX: In an interview about sequestration with codirector of the Political Economy Research Institute, Bob Pollin, he said that there's less bang for your buck when funds are spent on the military.

    ROBERT POLLIN, CODIRECTOR, PERI: For every dollar that is spent on the military, if the money is instead spent on education, you get 2.5 times more jobs, you get about 27 jobs per $1 million of spending on education versus 11 in the military. So we can't think about spending on the military strictly in absolute terms of job creation. We have to compare it with job creation in other sectors of the economy.

    DESVARIEUX: That means that defense spending doesn't always equal more jobs.

    In this study by Project On Government Oversight, it shows that growth in defense contracts do not equal growth in employment. Since 2006, the top five defense contractors have seen more contracts while employing fewer people.

    Washington, D.C.-based public policy scholar and former Rand Corporation analyst Jeremiah Goulka says the defense industry holds Congress hostage with the threat of losing jobs. But he says Americans need to look at the bigger picure.

    JEREMIAH GOULKA, PUBLIC POLICY SCHOLAR: We have to think about the human impact of what would happen if someone who works on the production line of an F-35, say. But then again, the F-35 is the most expensive procurement program in military history, which would make it world history, and it's hard to look at objectively and say that this is somehow necessary and we couldn't just replace maybe some very old fighter planes with some new-year models of the older planes. I mean, F-16s are still good. You actually could build some new ones. But the defense-industrial base doesn't want to, and so it actually will shut down lines in order to force the buying of new models. New models are always more expensive. So a lot of what your fanciest fighter planes can do are—well, it's kind of like buying a Lamborghini to drive around a cul-de-sac. It's pointless.

    DESVARIEUX: Pollin also argues these cuts will not weaken the miilitary drastically but will only place the military spending back to the share of the economy that is was in 2000, mainly due to the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    POLLIN: We would move from a military budget where it is today, at 4.7 percent of the economy, 4.7 percent of GDP, down to 3 percent of GDP by 2017. And that would just bring us back to where the military budget was as a share of the economy in the year 2000, the last year that Clinton was in office. That is the worst-case scenario from the military standpoint. That's the worst-case scenario.

    And, by the way, in case we manage to find new places to fight wars, the sequestration rules are completely out the window. The sky is the limit. The military can spend whatever it wants. That's all built into these agreements.

    With Friday's automatic spending cuts deadline approaching, Hagel's position will be revealed in the coming days.

    For The Real News Network, Jessica Desvarieux, Washington.


    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at


    Latest Stories

    Affirmative Action Ruling Will Further Racial Inequality
    Evidence for Russian Involvement in East Ukraine Based on Shoddy Journalism
    Ivy League Study: The General Public Has Virtually No Influence on Policy
    The Modern History of Venezuela and Popular Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (9/9)
    An Asia "Pivot" Should Mean Cooperating with China to Solve the Global Environmental Crisis
    Assessing the U.S. Environmental Movement
    Intimidation and Political Interference Goes Unpunished in UAW Case
    Exclusive Investigation Uncovers How BP Uses Bribes To Do Business
    The Modern History of Venezuela, The Protests and Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (8/9)
    Greek Politics 4 Years After The Financial Crisis
    CBO Report Confirms U.S. Deficit Back to Normal Level
    Israel Uses Refugees as "Currency" in Arms Trade with Africa
    Who Will Pay for Climate Change Disaster?
    Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States
    The Savings and Loan Crisis Demonstrates the Importance of Glass-Steagall
    South African Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership
    TRNN Original Report: Manning Determined to Fight Back After Army Upholds 35- Year Sentence
    Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7), Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting